What is the future for digital twins?
What is the future of using Digital Twins?

The Digital Twin is becoming an increasingly important technology for AECO professionals. By creating a virtual replica of a physical object, you can gain deep insights into how that object will behave and perform.

This blog will outline my top 5 uses of digital twins with BIM for AECO professionals. Stay tuned for future blog posts where I’ll go into more detail about each specific use case!

1. What Is Digital Twins Technology?

The concept of digital twins was first established in the field of engineering but has since been adopted across a variety of industries.

The term “digital twin” describes the relationship between a physical object and its corresponding digital representation.

This is usually through the use of sensors, where the performance data can be collected to monitor and predict the behavior of the real-world object or system.

This relationship can be used to simulate, forewarn, and optimize the performance of the physical object.

Digital twins are often used in industrial settings, but the concept is also relevant to consumer products and services.

For example, fitness trackers collect data about our daily activity levels, which can be used to create a digital twin of our physical selves.

This information can then be used to provide feedback and recommendations that help us improve our health and fitness.

As digital twin technology advances, the concept of digital twins will likely become increasingly important.

Digital Twins With AECO

The use of digital twins is gaining popularity in a variety of industries as a way to create a more efficient and effective workflow.

The AECO industry (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations) is one area where digital twins are becoming increasingly significant.

For design and construction projects it is important to optimize the three aspects of time, cost and quality, however without a crystal ball, this can be a huge challenge.

Time Cost and Quality together using Digital Twins
Usually time, quality and cost work like this! ???? Ref: Bjorn Munson

By creating a digital model of a building or other physical structure, the AECO industry can achieve what is usually unattainable: that is to save time and money while also improving quality – that’s Fast, Good and Cheap at the same time! ????

If done right, digital twins come with a lot of power for simulations, analysis, and ultimately better decision-making.

Let’s take a look at the ways digital twins are being used…

2. Top 5 Uses Of Digital Twins With BIM For AECO

As the world grows increasingly digital, the construction industry is beginning to feel the effects of this change – one of the most significant changes that are taking place is the use of digital twins with Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Here are my top five uses of digital twins with BIM for the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations (AECO) industry:

  1. Design Optimization
  2. Construction Planning and Execution
  3. Health and Safety
  4. Facility Management
  5. Sustainability and Resiliency

2.1 Design Optimization:

By creating a digital twin of an existing building, engineers can test out different design modifications and see how they impact the performance of the real-world counterpart.

This helps to improve the efficiency of the design process and ensures that any changes made to the physical building are based on data-driven decisions.

For example, they can identify areas where the building is not meeting energy efficiency standards.

They can also assess the impact of proposed changes to the building, such as adding solar panels or changing the ventilation system.

Additionally, digital twins can be used to monitor the performance of an existing building in real-time.

This allows for the early detection of issues and can help to improve the overall maintenance and operational efficiency of a building.

By using digital twins, engineers and architects can test and optimize different design options and make more informed decisions about how to improve the design of an existing building.

2.2 Construction Planning and Execution:

We can also use digital twins to plan and execute construction projects more efficiently.

For example, if construction/emergency workers are dispatched to repair a damaged section of a building, they can use the digital twin to determine the best route to the site and identify any potential hazards.

Or if a construction company is planning to add an extra story to an existing building, they can use a digital twin to study the effects of the addition on the structure as a whole.

The digital twins would allow them to identify potential problems and make necessary changes before construction begins.

Additionally, digital twins can be used to monitor the progress of a construction project and identify potential issues – for example using sensors to monitor deflection in a slab during a concrete pour or movement in a tall building as it is constructed.

By keeping track of the data collected by the digital twin, construction companies can ensure that their projects are on track and identify any potential delays.

2.3 Health And Safety:

By understanding how people interact with the physical space, we can use digital twins to improve health and safety in buildings.

For example, by studying the flow of people through a digital twin of a building, engineers can identify areas where crowding could lead to dangerous situations.

Similarly, by simulating the effects of different scenarios, such as fires or chemical leaks, digital twins can help engineers develop plans to evacuate buildings safely and protect occupants from harm.

In addition to helping engineers assess and plan for health and safety risks, digital twins can be used to monitor building systems in real-time.

By tracking data such as temperature, humidity, and air quality, engineers can quickly identify problems with HVAC systems or other critical infrastructure.

This allows them to take corrective action before conditions become unsafe.

Ultimately, by leveraging the power of digital twins, engineers can make existing buildings safer for everyone.

2.4 Facility Management: 

With the ability to accurately generate a virtual version of a real asset, digital twins are quickly becoming a potent tool for facilities management.

When coupled with Building Information Modelling (BIM), digital twins can provide even deeper insights into how a facility is performing and how it can be improved.

There are many benefits to using digital twins for facility management.

Perhaps most importantly, they can help identify problems before they cause physical damage or downtime.

By monitoring the data from various sensors attached to an asset, anomalies can be detected and addressed before they lead to issues.

For example, you can use them to track energy usage, monitor building performance, and predict maintenance needs.

Additionally, digital twins can simulate different scenarios, such as changing operating conditions or stress tests, to see how the asset will respond.

2.5 Sustainability And Resiliency: 

By understanding how a physical system interacts with its environment, digital twins can help engineers to make more efficient use of resources and to reduce the overall carbon footprint of a project.

In the case of existing buildings, digital twins can be used to identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements.

By understanding how an office building is being used, its digital twin could test various energy-saving strategies and make changes to optimize HVAC systems or lighting.

These simulations allow for more efficient use of resources such as natural light in the workplace by adjusting window coverings accordingly; they can also provide data on which kind(s) of heating/cooling equipment would be best suited towards meeting certain needs – all with a goal towards reducing emissions!

In addition, digital twins can also be used to monitor the impact of weather events on a building’s envelope.

By understanding how wind and rain interact with a building’s exterior, engineers can make changes to the design of the building that will minimize the risk of damage during severe weather events.

Ultimately, digital twins are becoming an increasingly important technology for AECO professionals and they have the potential to play a vital role in making our built environment more sustainable.

3. Summing Up

A digital twin is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used across many industries – teams can achieve better efficiency, lower cost, and more precise projects.

If you haven’t already started using a digital twin in your industry, now is the time to start!

If you are struggling to know where to start, that’s where Plannerly comes in – it’s the leading BIM management platform, and it is dedicated to helping you to define your digital twin requirements.

With Plannerly, you can finally streamline your BIM planning process by creating customized plans and scopes for your digital twin needs, in minutes.

Sign up today for Plannerly account that can help you take your business to the next level!

4. Bonus Resource ????

Here are some typical questions I get asked about using digital twins and BIM, as well as my best-attempted answers.

I hope they’re useful! ????

What are digital twins?

Digital Twin Definition

A digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical asset or system that is connected to the real world twin through data. This is usually through the use of sensors, where the performance data can be used to monitor and predict the behavior of the real-world object or system, and to improve efficiency and safety.

How are digital twins used in the AECO industry?

In the AECO industry, digital twins are used to help design, build, and operate structures and systems. For example, engineers can use digital twins to test how a proposed design will respond to different loads and stresses. Construction managers can use digital twins to plan and execute construction projects. And building operators can use digital twins to monitor building performance and identify potential problems.Digital twins are becoming increasingly important in the AECO industry as buildings and infrastructure become more complex. By using digital twins, engineers and construction professionals can gain a better understanding of how their designs will perform in the real world, which can help to reduce errors and improve project outcomes.

What are some benefits (and challenges!) of using digital twins?

Digital twins can be used for a variety of purposes, including design optimization, construction planning and execution, health and safety, facility management, and sustainability and resiliency. Some benefits of using digital twins include improved decision-making, increased efficiency, reduced waste and costs, and improved safety. Many challenges with creating and using digital twins are related to the integration of data from many different sources to create complete, accurate and useful twins.

How is a digital twin created?

A digital twin of a building is typically created by using a BIM tool like Revit or Archicad or by scanning a physical object or system and then creating a 3D model of it. This model can be used to create a virtual replica of the object or system, which can then be monitored and analyzed.

How accurate are digital twins?

The accuracy of digital twins generally depends on two things: 1) the level of detail included in the original 3D model and 2) the type, amount and regularity of data updates from connected sensors/hardware. Generally speaking, the more detailed the model, the more accurate the digital twin will be. However, even relatively low-detail models can be useful for monitoring basic aspects of an object or system’s behavior.

What industries are using digital twins?

Digital twins are being used in a wide range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, construction, and operations. The AECO industry is beginning to embrace the use of digital twins, with many potential applications for them in areas such as design optimization, construction planning and execution, health and safety, facility management, and sustainability.

What is Digital Twinning?

Digital twinning is like cloning reality but in the digital world! It creates virtual copies of products or systems so they can be analyzed, predicted, and optimized to perfection. And the best part is it has the power to revolutionize industries like manufacturing, transportation, energy, and even healthcare. Talk about ‘twin-tastic’ technology! ????

Digital Twin Pricing – how much does a digital twin cost?

Want to bring your project into the digital age? Well, it might cost you a bit more than expected. A BIM model can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the project and the level of detail required. A digital twin, on the other hand, requires not only a 3D model or BIM, but also sensors and software for collecting and managing real-time data from the physical system, as well as for analyzing and visualizing the performance of the digital twin. So most digital twin projects start in the 100’s of thousands of dollars. The best way to keep costs low is to plan the scope in detail – that’s where Plannerly can help! ????

I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.

Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!

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